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In the first post in the series I shared my views on how to simultaneously organize and show off your prized possessions. This time, I’d like to specifically focus on living room and home office design ideas.

However, any home design advice should be taken with a grain of salt. When building or renovating, there is always more than one solution. First and foremost, it’s really important to have a clear vision of what you want (I share one approach in my how-toBOOK DIY Like an Architect).

“Experts” cautioned me against buying a house I had my heart set on. Moldy, dingy and dark, it stayed on the market for over a year before I found it. Regardless, seduced by its old rose garden and brick walls of the original lodge built in 1934, I rejected conventional wisdom and prevailed — a neglected property was transformed into a laboratory for mixing customized design with family life I envisioned.

The bottom line is always about maximizing potential.

Design ideas file tip #2 / living room & home office:


Problem: A living room has to function as an office + library.

Solution: Plan for success — fine-tune and bring everything together in one receptacle — a framework, backdrop, container.

design ideas, advice without strings, architect on demand


Design shelving that is diligent about keeping things pared down.

Hang narrow “in-between” display trays to maximize capacity.

design ideas, advice without strings, architect on demand

aluminum CD shelf

Added Benefit: Every surface becomes a tidy mini-gallery.

design ideas, advice without strings, architect on demand

aluminum CD shelf repurposed

If you have any questions, please address them to me in your comments below. I am at your service as an online architectural consultant and DIY ally.


  • Meg Griffin
    May 18, 2015

    I love this wall unit. It can fit everything. Wonderful!!

  • May 25, 2015

    Love your design idea with yogurt jars. What a simple thing and it looks so stylish. Thank you for this suggestion.

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